Unique cycling jacket could improve safety in a world of autonomous cars

A special jacket that helps autonomous vehicles “see” cyclists has won a prize at an international design conference.

Created by design student Philip Siwek, the reflective jacket incorporates several QR codes that could one day help self-driving cars and trucks better detect cyclists and understand their intended movements.

Siwek, based in Vancouver, Canada, collected the award at the recent IDEA International Design Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

In a post on his website explaining the jacket’s design, Siwek notes how cyclists represent a unique challenge for autonomous vehicles as they’re “light, nimble, and fast.”

Further difficulties can arise because of their “open structure, low mass, and minimal surface area,” Siwek said. “The tube frame and wire construction provide little opportunity for lidar to receive enough laser strikes for proper detection.”